The Dance – John 16:1-15

“It is for your benefit that I go away, because if I don’t go away the Counselor will not come to you. If I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world about sin, righteousness, and judgment…. When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth” (John 16:7-8, 13, CSB).

On the night before His death Jesus introduced His disciples to the third person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. Jesus knew that He would no longer be physically present with His disciples and they would need His continuing presence and guidance in their lives.

To illustrate the ministry of the Holy Spirit, Max Lucado draws an analogy to a man who wanted to learn to dance. The man went to a bookstore to buy a book on dancing. He studied the book thoroughly and learned all the dance steps as the book had described.

Once he mastered all the dance steps the man invited his wife to watch him dance. He demonstrated all the movements and steps of the dance perfectly and then turned to his wife, expecting her to congratulate him on what a good dancer he was.

Instead of praising him on his perfect dancing, she instead told him he forgot the most important part of the dance. “Where’s the music?” she asked him.

Just like the dancing man, we Christians are sometimes prone to follow the instructions while ignoring the music. We master doctrine, memorize Bible verses, debate theology and then rigidly march out on the dance floor of life with no music in our hearts.

Dancing without music is not only unsatisfying, it’s without meaning. It’s the what and the how without the why and the wherefore!

It’s like a song with lyrics and no melody….

The same holds true for our Christian lives. Salvation without relationship is religion. It’s ritual. It’s purpose without passion.

The Holy Spirit is the music to the dance of our Christian lives! He’s the melody to the song of salvation.

The Holy Spirit provides passion to God’s purpose for our lives.

When Jesus first introduced His disciples to the Spirit Who would inhabit their lives after He left this earth, He revealed the personhood of the Holy Spirit: He is the Spirit of truth. The world is unable to receive him because it doesn’t see him or know him. But you do know him, because he remains with you and will be in you” (John 14:17, CSB).

Of the three persons of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit is the one we seem to understand the least. We can personalize God as Father, Son as personal Savior, but we often mistakenly regard the Holy Spirit as a force and not a person.

But, the Holy Spirit is a person. He is the Spirit of Jesus (Philippians 1:19).

He is Jesus (God) abiding in us. He is Jesus walking and talking with us.

And, as such He’s our moral compass. He internally guides us and externally empowers us in how to live out God’s will in this world.

He confirms our salvation in Christ and affirms our hope for eternal life with God.

And, as an added benefit the Holy Spirit illuminates the words of the Bible to our hearts and minds making it more than a set of instructions for living the Christian life but rather a chronicle for having a personal relationship with God in Christ.

In him you also were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed. The Holy Spirit is the down payment of our inheritance, until the redemption of the possession, to the praise of his glory.

Ephesians 1:13-14, CSB

God’s B.F.F. – John 15:9-17

<<This meditation was originally posted November 21, 2010.>>

“You are my friends if you do what I command you. I do not call you servants anymore, because a servant doesn’t know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from my Father (John 15:14-15, CSB).

Who is your best friend? Most of us would say it’s the person we tell everything, the one we reveal our innermost thoughts and feelings to.

Jesus promised that if we will do what He tells us we can be His friend and He will be our friend.

Think about it. God is inviting you to be His friend. The eternal, omnipotent Creator of the universe is asking you to friend Him!

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God’s Power of Attorney – John 14:8-17

“Truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do. And he will do even greater works than these, because I am going to the Father. Whatever you ask in my name, I will do it so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it…. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever. He is the Spirit of truth” (John 14:12-17, CSB).

As Jesus and His disciples shared a last meal together, Judas Iscariot’s impending betrayal was revealed by Jesus to His disciples. Once Judas left the dinner to carry out his unscrupulous scheme, Jesus spoke openly and intimately with His remaining disciples about the events that were about to unfold and what they meant. John 13:31 – 17:26 replays the conversation Jesus had with His disciples.

As Jesus was explaining to His disciples that the only way to know God the Father was through Him, Philip asked Him to show them the Father and that’s all they would need to believe. Jesus reminded the disciples that the Father was in Him and the words He spoke and miracles He performed were by the power of God the Father.

Then, Jesus added that not only did He have the power to do God’s works, He also had the power to enable those who believed in Him, His disciples, to perform the miracles He performed and even greater ones than He did! When Jesus said to ask in His name and He will do it, He was granting His power of attorney.

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Glorified: Part 1 – John 13:1-34

When he had left, Jesus said, “Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him. If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself and will glorify him at once ” (John 13:31-32, CSB).

The three stages of Christian development and the doctrine of glorification are usually associated with the writings of Paul: “For those he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, so that he would be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; and those he called, he also justified; and those he justified, he also glorified” (Romans 8:29-30, CSB; see also 1 Corinthians 15:35-53; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

In the coherent parlance of a master storyteller, Jesus introduced His disciples to the intricate theological construct of glorification in the final hours before His arrest.

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You Always Have the Poor – John 12:1-7

Then one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot (who was about to betray him), said, “Why wasn’t this perfume sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”…. Jesus answered, “Leave her alone; she has kept it for the day of my burial. For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” (John 12: 4-8, CSB).

A group of Christian individuals and organizations recently developed an advertising campaign for American TV called “He Gets Us” ( This group states that they are a diverse group of people passionate about the authentic Jesus of the Bible who want everyone to understand Jesus as he’s depicted in the Bible.

The campaign has purchased airtime to broadcast its commercials on national television. Recently, the campaign purchased airtime for two commercials during SuperBowl LVII at a cost of millions of dollars for each 30-second spot. The campaign says it plans to to invest a billion dollars on spreading its message of the Jesus of the Bible.

Spending millions of dollars on “messaging” has, of course, generated criticism from both the socially-conscious Christians on the theological left and the fundamentalist Christians on the theological right. The biggest criticism of the campaign, however, is its spending on marketing, which is seen as money that could be spent for funding community programs for the poor and advocacy for the oppressed.

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Dead Man Walking – John 11:1-44

After he said this, he shouted with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” The dead man came out bound hand and foot with linen strips and with his face wrapped in a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unwrap him and let him go” (John 11:43-44, CSB).

“Dead man walking” is an idiom used in U.S. prisons to announce a condemned prisoner being walked to the place of execution. The use of the phrase has expanded as a euphemism for anyone facing an impending and unavoidable loss.

But, when referring to Lazarus, dead man walking, is more of an axiom than an idiom. It’s not just a catchphrase but a fact! Lazarus was a man who literally died and was resurrected by Jesus and walked out of his tomb.

Lazarus was a bona fide dead man walking! But, he was not a man walking toward his death–he was a man walking away from his death!

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Mixed Metaphors – John 10:1-18

Jesus said again, “Truly I tell you, I am the gate for the sheep. All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep didn’t listen to them…. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. The hired hand, since he is not the shepherd and doesn’t own the sheep, leaves them and runs away when he sees a wolf coming…. “ (John 10:7-12, CSB)

When we read John 10 it almost seems like Jesus is mixing His metaphors. First, He says He is the gate for the sheep. Next, He says He is the good shepherd. Then, He says He is not the hired hand that looks after the sheep.

Throughout the Gospel of John Jesus portrayed Himself and His ministry with a number of analogies:

  • I am the bread of life” (John 6:35).
  • “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5).
  • “I am the resurrection and the life” (John 11:25).
  • “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
  • “I am the true vine” (John 15:1, 5).
  • “I tell you the truth, before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58). While not an analogy, it is a play on words that the Jews clearly understood in which Jesus equates Himself with the “I AM” title God gave Himself in Exodus 3:14.
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Amateur Theologians – John 9

This meditation was originally posted on November 10, 2013.

“He answered, “Whether or not he’s a sinner, I don’t know. One thing I do know: I was blind, and now I can see!”…. “This is an amazing thing!” the man told them. “You don’t know where he is from, and yet he opened my eyes. We know that God doesn’t listen to sinners, but if anyone is God-fearing and does his will, he listens to him. Throughout history no one has ever heard of someone opening the eyes of a person born blind. If this man were not from God, he wouldn’t be able to do anything.” (John 9:25,30-33, CSB).

As Jesus and His disciples are walking along one day they came across a man who was blind from birth and was also a beggar.

The disciples asked Jesus to explain the reason for the man’s unfortunate condition and circumstances: His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (vs 2).

Jesus explicitly answered the second question but enigmatically answered first question: “Neither this man nor his parents sinned,” Jesus answered. “This came about so that God’s works might be displayed in him” (vs. 3).

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Who’s Your Daddy? – John 8:30-59

Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, because I came from God and I am here. For I didn’t come on my own, but he sent me. Why don’t you understand what I say? Because you cannot listen to my word. You are of your father the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires.” (John 8:42-44, CSB)

Star Wars fans know well the iconic scene when Lord of the Dark Side, Darth Vader, reveals to Jedi warrior, Rebel hero, and disciple of the Force, Luke Skywalker, that he is Luke’s father. And, it then becomes a classic case of good vs. evil and what you think is good becomes evil.

There seems to be a similar theme in this discussion between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders: what people think is the agent for “good” is actually the agent for “evil.”

The genealogy of Jesus is often questioned in the Gospel of John. Under a constant barrage of threats and accusations about His background hurled at Jesus by the Jewish religious leaders, He consistently maintained that He was sent from God the Father.

In fact, Jesus being one with God and being sent by God the Father–His Messiahship– is a recurring theme in John.

But, in this case Jesus turns the table on the Jewish leaders and throws shade on them about their genealogy!

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When God Cries Out – John 7:37-39

“On the last and most important day of the festival, Jesus stood up and cried out, ‘If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. The one who believes in me, as the Scripture has said, will have streams of living water flow from deep within him.’ He said this about the Spirit. Those who believed in Jesus were going to receive the Spirit, for the Spirit had not yet been given because Jesus had not yet been glorified.” (John 7:37-39, CSB).

God is passionate about your salvation….

In John 7 Jesus went down to Jerusalem for the Feast of Tabernacles. About halfway through the week-long celebration He went up to the Temple and began to teach.

The Feast of Tabernacles, also known as the Feast of Booths and Sukkot, is the seventh and last feast that the Lord commanded Israel to observe. It is one of the three feasts each year that Jews were to observe by appearing before the Lord (see Deuteronomy 16:16). As one of the pilgrim feasts when Jewish males were commanded to go to Jerusalem, the Feast of Tabernacles was also the time when they brought their tithes and offerings to the Temple.

With the influx of people coming to Jerusalem at this time, we can only imagine what the scene must have been like. Thousands of people coming together to remember and celebrate God’s deliverance and His provision, all living in temporary shelters or booths as part of the requirements of the feast.

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